World in View: The genius of the Sudanese revolution

May 6, 2019

From the May-June 2019 issue of News and Letters

by Gerry Emmett


In Syria’s Idlib, Free Syrians honor the Sudanese Revolution.

The ongoing Sudanese Revolution is a world historic moment demanding humanity’s full attention. Following months of peaceful protest for freedom, justice, and the fall of the regime, the Sudanese military was forced to place 30-year dictator Omar al-Bashir under house arrest on Apr. 13.

This genocidal war criminal was unseated as he was being used by other authoritarian states in the region to bring Syria’s genocidal dictator Bashar al-Assad back into the Arab League. We will never allow these monsters to be normalized!

The masses refused to leave the streets or compromise their demands when Bashir was replaced by a new military ruler, Gen. Awad Ibn Auf. When Ibn Auf tried to clear the streets by instituting a curfew, the people defied him, and within another day Ibn Auf was also deposed.

Demands continue for a full return to civilian rule and a democratic government. These tremendous events in Sudan aren’t occurring in a vacuum.


As this was happening, demonstrations of hundreds of thousands demanding freedom brought about the fall of Algeria’s 20-year dictator, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Demonstrations for full freedom have continued there. (See “Algerian women at forefront,” p. 2.)

Mass movements have also arisen in Morocco, Tunisia, Uganda and, via social media, even in Eritrea under its iron-handed dictatorship. 

The Sudanese Revolution has brought back the memory of the 1950s anthem, “I Am African, I Am Sudanese.” Words by poet Alsir Gadour, music by the great haqibah singer Ibrahim al Kashif, the song expresses the multicultural creative nexus that accompanied Sudanese independence. Its revival was a repudiation of decades of racism and religious fundamentalism. Indeed, one sign of the imminent fall of Bashir was the moment a soldier joined the protesters in its performance.


Another repudiation of reactionary rule is the massive role played by women in this revolution.

This was symbolized by the iconic moment Alaa Salah stood atop a car with her finger raised skyward, speaking to a crowd largely made up of women.

Indications are that the next stage of the revolution will again face the fundamentalist threat as Saudi Arabia and Iran enter competition for influence. The Sudanese women must have humanity’s support in resisting this influence and deepening the revolution.

The heroic women protesters have been dubbed Kandakes, after the legendary Nubian queens who fought for their country’s rights. If the current revolution can encompass the rights of the Nuba, the people of Darfur, and other victims of Bashir’s genocide, it will take a giant step forward.

Let’s get clear on a few things. The overthrow of Bashir and Bouteflika has reminded us that it wasn’t these dictators who supported Assad’s genocide—it is Assad’s genocide that supported their rule. As Syria has been the test of world politics, this lesson must be learned.

Human liberation depends absolutely upon an understanding of how the dispossession and enslavement of Africans was central to the creation of the bourgeois world, and oppressive capitalist social relations are upheld by racism and sexism.

It is impossible to overstate the potential significance of the Sudanese Revolution. 

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